October 5, 2004
In the rough game of football, linemen have been known to come back to the huddle with a case of double-vision on occasion.
Playing against Saguaro, it’s a certainty.
Identical twins Michael and Taylor Kleinschmidt are manning both sides of the line for the Sabercats, who head into this week’s game with Desert Ridge at 2-1 in nonregion play. About the only problem with having the Kleinschmidts on the team has been coach Mike Reardon’s inability to distinguish the two.
But even he’s figured out a way to tell the brothers apart and, according to the boys, has become much better in his second year at the school.
"I used to just yell, ‘Hey, Kleinschmidt!’ " Reardon said. "I can tell them apart now, but it took me a while to get there. Mike has a little bit of a fuller face."
"Last year he was really bad," Taylor said. "This year he’s got us down."
It’s a good problem for Reardon to have. Both Taylor and Michael were rewarded last season with four total spots on 4A East Sky allregion teams. Michael was named to the region’s first team as a guard and the second team as a defensive end. Taylor was named to the region’s second team at both offensive tackle and defensive end.
"They’re two of our most solid leaders and two of the hardestworking, well-liked guys on the team," Reardon said. "They’re not a real vocal pair, but they lead by example and they do a heck of a job."
The brothers thrive on competition with each other, but also lean on each other when they need to. At times, they’re called on to go head-to-head during practice.
"There’s definitely extra adrenaline when that happens," Taylor said. "You never want to get shown up by your own brother. When you go home with him at night, he’ll just keep talking about it. You never want to give him that edge. If he pancakes a guy one week, I feel that I have to pancake the guy the next week."
Who’s having the better season?
"Right now I’d have to say (Michael)," Taylor said. "I’ve been working on my run-blocking technique. His technique is better right now."
And help is available just by knocking on the door at the Kleinschmidt home.
"We can correct each other," Michael said, adding that their teamwork extends beyond the gridiron. "We can help each other with homework or if there’s trouble with a teacher or something. We can talk to each other about it."
The brothers excel not only on the playing field, but in the classroom as well. Both are nearly ‘A’ students and take honors classes. Football is not the first thing on their minds as they begin to think about college.
"Because of their size, they’re not going to get any major college offers," Reardon said of the brothers, who both stand 6-foot and weigh 230. "They both want to find the best academic institution they can find."
"We’re just sort of letting fate determine where we go and what we do next year," Michael said. "Heck, we may end up living on the same street next to each other someday."